Citi launches forex margin platform in Hong Kong

Written by Reuters | Hong Kong, September 9: | Updated: Sep 9 2008, 19:01pm hrs
Citibank aims to tap increasingly active forex margin traders in Asia with a trading platform it launched in Hong Kong on Tuesday and plans to extend it to Singapore and Japan in the next few months.

Foreign exchange margin trading is growing globally by more than 25 percent a year, with daily turnover estimated at about US$100 billion and the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 40 percent of trade, says Citibank.

Its platform, which was launched in the United States in March, is aimed at money managers, hedge funds and individual traders.

"We're focusing towards the high end of this market," Alex Knight, Citi's Asia manager of forex margin trading, said. "We're not trying to create traders but aim to capture active traders of currencies or active traders looking to diversify into currencies."

The platform provides spot trading for more than 140 currency pairs from 23 underlying currencies and is leveraged at 50 times, enabling a trader who puts down US$10,000 for example to take a US$500,000 position. Citi said there is no commission charge.

Hong Kong is the world's sixth-largest centre for the world's foreign exchange market, which now generates daily trade of US$3.2 trillion, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

Citibank plans to launch its product in Europe in the first half of next year and is considering taking it to India and China.